Part two: Inter-agency coordinated appeals

Democratic Republic of the Congo

People in need
19.6 million
People targeted
9.6 million
Requirements (US$)
2 billion
Total population
103.2 million
Income level
Low income
INFORM Severity Index
4.5 / Very High
Consecutive appeals
1999 - 2021
People reached (2020)
6.6 million

Analysis of the context, crisis and needs

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), violent conflict, epidemics and natural disasters continue to compound and exacerbate existing vulnerabilities. These include high levels of poverty, weak public infrastructure and limited-service delivery. Disputes over land and mineral resources continue to drive conflict dynamics and displacement. In 2020, armed conflict further intensified in Ituri and some parts of the Kivus.

DRC remains home to the largest IDP population in Africa, with 5.2 million displaced people. A total of 1.7 million people displacements took place in 2020. The country also hosts some 529,000 refugees from neighbouring countries. Almost 21.8 million people currently face severe acute food insecurity, the highest absolute number ever recorded worldwide. Some 3.4 million children under age 5 are acutely malnourished.

Communicable disease outbreaks continue to add to the complexity and gravity of the situation: while the tenth Ebola epidemic in the eastern region ended in June, a new Ebola outbreak has emerged in Equateur, which is an extremely fragile area. Thanks to the combined efforts of the Government and the humanitarian community, the worst national measles epidemics ended in August 2020. However, measles, as well as cholera, remain a serious concern (415 deaths on 32,375 cases and 184 deaths on 4,283 cases, respectively, in 2020). In March the first COVID-19 infection was recorded, and to date11,329 cases and 308 deaths have been confirmed. Due to extremely limited testing capacity, the full extent of the pandemic is likely to be larger. But the economic impact is evident: falling commodity prices are triggering a currency devaluation, which in turn is driving up prices.

The volatile security situation, particularly in eastern DRC, continues to hinder access to affected people, as does poor infrastructure. Humanitarian actors in several provinces have reduced movements or temporarily suspended their activities on multiple occasions due to incidents. At least 249 security incidents directly affecting humanitarian personnel or assets have been reported since the beginning of 2020.

Projected situation in 2021 and beyond

Conflicts are expected to persist. The dynamics of these conflicts will remain complicated as a result of national and provincial political dynamics. The reconfiguration of the UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) could also be a factor influencing the situation and local contexts. Population displacement and protection incidents, especially in eastern DRC, are expected to persist. IDPs, returnees and host communities continue to be the most vulnerable. The evolution of epidemics or new disease outbreaks and potential natural disasters, such as floods, could potentially aggravate the situation further.


Evolution of needs and requirements (2016 - 2021)

The number of people who need humanitarian assistance in DRC has increased from 15.6 million in 2020 to 19.6 million in 2021. This is being driven by intensified conflict in some areas, increasing severe food insecurity, COVID-19 and the Ebola outbreak in Equateur province. The impact of the latter is expected to significantly decrease over the coming months but would remain under surveillance.

Structural underdevelopment and humanitarian crises will continue to limit people’s access to essential goods and services, negatively impacting their coping mechanisms and capacity for resilience.

Response priorities in 2021

By the end of 2020, the humanitarian community expects to have reached 6.6 million people. The 2021 response strategy will focus on addressing five critical issues: population movements, food insecurity, malnutrition, epidemics and protection. In 2021, humanitarian partners will aim to assist 9.6 million of the most vulnerable people in DRC, with an estimated financial requirement of $1.98 billion. The targeting methodology has been further strengthened through the intersectoral approach and severity analysis to ensure that the most severe needs are prioritized.

Following the severity analysis, the key geographical focus of the humanitarian response will be on Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu, Tanganyika and the Greater Kasai area. These locations have an overlay of crisis drivers and deepening humanitarian needs.

Humanitarian partners will work to achieve objectives by delivering targeted, multisector assistance. Throughout the response they will mainstream key cross-cutting approaches, which include AAP, prevention of SEA, mitigation of GBV risk in programme implementation and inclusion of people with disabilities. Building on progress made since 2019 (such as proposed collective outcomes), humanitarian actors will continue to enhance and promote the Nexus approach to reduce vulnerabilities.

Further reading


  1. Population movements commissions, Statistical data on population movements (September 2018 – August 2020).
  2. UNHCR, Refugees data as of the end of July 2020.
  3. IPC analysis, 18th cycle, current period (July – December 2020), August 2020.
  4. Nutrition Cluster data, as of the end of August 2020.
  5. WHO and Ministry of Health, Epidemiological data as of the end of October 2020.
  6. WHO and Ministry of Health, Epidemiological data as of the end of October 2020.
  7. INSO, UNDSS, OCHA, as of the end of September 2020.